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JBT1981

How Do I 'Work' a Weightless Texas Rig

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Hi all,

  I've had responses on this forum about the effectiveness of fishing for bass with a weightless T-rig and a finesse worm. I was wondering how you all work that lure?

I've read you need to watch your line to see if you get a hit; I've always found it difficult to see the line in some lighting conditions as well as feeling the 'tick' of a hit. Any suggestions there?

Thanks.

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Polarized sunglasses help with seeing the line.

 

Just cast the weightless plastic and let it sink. Lift the rod tip up every once in a while to repeat the action. Twitching the bait is also good. Giving a Senko a good pop or a jerk produces an eratic action that triggers bites as well.

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Remember, a weightless plastic (usually) is always about the slow fall. The action of the bait as it flutters down the water column in plain view of bass for what is "forever" in fishing produces the bites because they just can't help the easy, delicious looking snack/meal.

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Will I see the line go taught when there's a bite? 

When I cast it, should I reel up any slack at all?  I know it needs to free fall, but will reeling the slack a bit help me feel the bite and set the hook?

Since I bank fish on a reservoir with stained water, I can't really sight fish and I'm looking for better ways to reliably bring them in!

 

 

 

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Take some practice casts - watch how the line moves as it sinks. If there's a change in how it's moving - either stopping or moving faster...then set the hook. If you reel up the slack, it's going to fall differently - more of an arc rather than straight down.

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let it fall on slack line, watch line for twitches,jumping or just plain moving that's not part of the "fall" like going sideways or even coming towards you. then reel down and set on em.

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Get a few dozen real, live, fresh, feisty worms. Wacky rig them and cast them where you know there’s bass - weightless. Eventually, you’ll learn to detect the weightless worm bite. That is how I learned. 

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4 hours ago, Glaucus said:

Lift the rod tip up every once in a while to repeat the action. Twitching the bait is also good. Giving a Senko a good pop or a jerk produces an eratic action that trigger...

JB, your boy Glacus has it 100% here.  

There is a balance in letting a weightless worm fall on a slack line, then picking it up and feeling if there is a fish there.  Let the bait fall a bit, then check to see if anyone's there, repeat.  One of these times you check it, it will feel heavy or the line will be swimming off.  That's when it's time to reel em in.

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You can also work a weight less t-rigged worm like a jerk bait.  I used to destroy river smallies and other species that swam in the Shiawassee river doing this.  I was using a pumpkin gulp crawler.  Sometimes during the retrieve I wouldn’t even pause it. Jerk reel slack, jerk, reeel slack.  Very the jerk and how fast you reel slack untill you figure out how they want it.  There were times I was jerking and burning that reel bringing in line almost as fast as I could do it. 

 

For feeling the wacky rig bit it’s kinda feels weird untill your used to it.  I don’t feel it from the pole.  I usually feel it in my elbow. When they bite or pick it up it’s just slight pop kinda like hitting the torque setting on a torque wrench  Wierd I know.  

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14 hours ago, JBT1981 said:

Will I see the line go taught when there's a bite? 

Depending on the mood of the fish, I've had a slight twitch in the line, the line shooting off in another direction feeling weightless, the lure feels weightless, the lure feels snagged, but not moving, the lure gets smacked on splash down (once I actually had a fish jump out of the water to inhale it prior to splash down) and lastly, the lure gets smacked with all the subtleties of a runaway freight train. I'm missing some other ways here, but I'm sure you'll experience all these.

 

I fish weighted and weightless t-rigs on semi-slack line. Cast, let out a little line for a straight fall and maintain a slight bow in the line. You should be able to feel what's going on with the business end.

 

All the above suggestions for retrieves are very good ones. Once the dog days of summer hit, my most productive retrieve is nothing. Just cast and let it drop. I've waited like a minute dead sticking a weightless rig and made a pattern out of it.

 

Good luck

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Throw it out there, set the rod down, kick back and relax. When your rod is about to get pulled out of the boat, pick it up and reel in your fish.  Ok that was hyperbole but not too far off. I use clear mono that's easy to see above the water but hard to see under it. You can see the line race off to one side or the other or directly away from you most of the time when you get a bite. It literally accelerates. If you can't notice it happening, you need to watch more closely.

 

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2 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Throw it out there, set the rod down, kick back and relax. When your rod is about to get pulled out of the boat, pick it up and reel in your fish. 

With your luck my friend, I can see this happening to you. Man, I need to hang out with you! :)

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27 minutes ago, Jigfishn10 said:

With your luck my friend, I can see this happening to you. Man, I need to hang out with you! :)

Let's do it! Haha. I'll bring the drywall and shims if you'll "learn" me a thing or two 

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I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but bright braid really helps me detect the bite.  I try to keep about 7' of light fluoro FGd to the end of it.

 

More often than not, you will see the braid react to the bite.  It's almost like bobber fishing.

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2 hours ago, Hook2Jaw said:

I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but bright braid really helps me detect the bite.  I try to keep about 7' of light fluoro FGd to the end of it.

 

More often than not, you will see the braid react to the bite.  It's almost like bobber fishing.

Actually yes for a beginner that is good advice.  Actually I just switched to 10 lbs power pro hi viz line on my spinning rod.  I put a 8-10 lbs flouro leader of what ever flouro I have on hand at that moment 

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Around here the bass like to watch the bait as it falls to the bottom. All you need to do is twitch the bait after it has been sitting on the bottom for a few seconds. 

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On 6/17/2019 at 2:45 PM, JBT1981 said:

Will I see the line go taught when there's a bite? 

When I cast it, should I reel up any slack at all?  I know it needs to free fall, but will reeling the slack a bit help me feel the bite and set the hook?

Since I bank fish on a reservoir with stained water, I can't really sight fish and I'm looking for better ways to reliably bring them in!

 

 

 

There one scenario it won’t. Before I go further a little bit of slack is acceptable but not excessive slack. Detecting a strike with too much slack is a great challenge because the line’s ability to transmit feedback a vibration to us is limited and compromised. 

 

This is when you will need to have other clues that are indirect and not revealed by the line via vibration to provide you the missing pieces of the puzzle that suggest a bite. 

 

Case 1 - Working a cadence

once you’re tuned to your cadence, as already mentioned. Anything that disrupts your cadence is likely to be a strike. I think the more descriptive word is it’s likely to be a take. I say this because they might nonchalantly take your bite instead of giving a viscous strike.

 

Case 2 - On the dead stick

This what I am sharing from my experience and I might not be able to describe it well but this is to answer your question and to illustrate the importance of not having excessive slack. For lack of a better term, let’s call it semi-slack. So there is a bit of slack but it is something you can instantly correct with a mere couple of inches of your rod tip moving. 

 

Say you pop the bait off the bottom and let it fall back to the bottom. You are aware of how much slack you have in your line and know how much you need to move your rod to get your line taut. 

 

You deadstick it for a bit and as you start move the bait you noticed your line is still slack... Well son, you’d better be reeling up the slack as fast as a bandit gets out of dodge because that fish took your bait and is swimming toward you, lol. 

 

Had the fish taken the bait and moved in any other direction, it would be revealed to you by your line becoming taut with no input given by you. 

 

In all these indirect cases, it can be summed up as something different changed your retrieve equation and you just have to be ready. 

 

You’ll get better with experience that can only be gained by your own personal experiences that get deposited into your knowledge bank. 

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I'm sorry, but fishing weightless plastics with tension, albeit small or large, introduced into the presentation seems to go against the best part of the technique; the slow, tantalizing fall of a quivering bait.  Giving lift and an amount of pull to your bait is going to pull it towards you, and away from the bass holding to cover you've casted or pitched your bait to.  Your target is lazy, and that's the entire reason he's sucking in your Senko, YUM Dinger, Strike King Zero, or Zoom Fluke.  She doesn't want to pull off her stump.  Will she?  Often.

 

I try to not leave that to chance, though, which is why I let it fall right on top of my targets that hopefully house my target.  If you're using weightless Texas rigs to cover water, what I typed does not apply.  If you're target casting to get the skunk off after a front, though, it's my humble opinion that you're shooting yourself in the foot.

 

Fish that thing on slack line for the most natural fall with bright braid to identify the strike.  Waiting to feel them is also probably gonna up your chance of gut hooking these fish most of us want to conserve.

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If you are going to fish a weightless Senko T-Rigged you better get very good at line watching.  All of the tips in the world won't help until you develop that skill....and it is a skill.  No matter how much slack you have in your line there are 2 places to watch.  First, where your line enters the water closest to your bait.  Second, where the line exits the water leading up to your rod.  The difference between the 2 places is your line laying flat on the water.  On the fall, I watch the first spot.  Once on the bottom, I watch the second spot.  The only tension I have on my line is to make sure there are no loops of line laying on the water from my rod to spot 2.  The more you do it, the better at it you will get. 

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I caught about a dozen yesterday evening using a very "loose" version of a T-Rig. I was throwing a 4" Grande Bass ribbed worm on an 1/0 very light EWG hook. Owing to the ribs sort of trapping air and making the little worms float a bit in the beginning (surface tension), I add the tiniest of split shots anywhere from just above the hook . . . to 6 or 12" up the leader. So, really a split shot presentation with a traditional T-Rig hook placement in the plastic.

 

The tiny split shot, maybe a tiny bit smaller than 1/8" in diameter? It will assist my fluoro leader descending through the water column and pulling the worm down. No bites on the drop last night so much, maybe one, as they were feeding off the bottom or schooling up at the surface. I chose what I thought would do best using a plastic worm.

 

I view the process as Toxic mentioned. On the cast, I sort of watch my junction knot. I can clearly see the fluoro being pulled under, my braid still afloat. My attention is "out there" while the worm makes its way to the bottom.

 

Once it hits the bottom, I take most of any remaining slack out of my line, drop my rod top so that the braid is floating near me (kayak) and wait for it to twitch. For sure, there are occasions a bass does something goofy that gives off a hard read, but 95% of the time, if they inhale the bait, say it moves 4" very fast, it will transmit up the line and you can't miss it. It is very distinctive. 

 

Using a traditional bullet weight on a true T-Rig, the weight gives a different kind of feed back. But, I am much less likely to get hung up using the tiny split shot method. And, I want to see if they are biting on the way down so I prefer a slower drop than a T-Rig with a heavier nose weight.

 

One of a dozen or so bass I caught near the 2495 bridge on Lake Athens. Most were in the 2 lbs. range, nothing very large.

 

Brad

 

 

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What works for me is to move it without moving it really. Just little twitches. I like to use a 5 inch Yamamoto with an inch cut off the head. They weigh enough to cast and have some tension. For me watching the braided line is key. If it’s windy I add a split shot. I used to hate weightless until it started to work for me 

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You need 2 key items here. First of all your rod. My first ned rig rod was a $50 Medium Ugly Stick. It is VERY sensitive. Plenty to feel a bass flirting with your worm. Secondly, you need polarized glasses. Walmart has knockoff Ikes for $10 and they do the trick. If you still cant see the line get some flouresant line. TBH, I can always feel the bite before I see the line bump even with the cheap Ugly Stick. I hauled in up to 5#s the day I used it and got hooked on finesse. Now I use the Tatula Elite Finesse rod as well as a 705 Dobyns. It doesn't take >$200 rod for sensitivity.

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I caught a nice Largemouth yesterday on a weightless Berkley ribbon tail worm. I didn't feel a strike, but when I saw the line start to wander off on its own I set the hook. The polarized sunglasses helped see the line, for sure.

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Weightless is generally a sight fishing, line watching deal.

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